I wake up to silence, which did not happen at all. I shake with fear. It was never silent in this house, ever since Mom had run away. No, never had it been this still. I jump when I feel something move on my stomach. I look down to see Ella, lying against my stomach instead of the pillow, as usual. What was not normal was that she’s moving when she’s asleep. She does not even move an inch, not even her lips don’t move, which usually made me relieved but now it was different.

“Maria,” Ella whispers.

I snap my head to look down at her, “Yes?”

“Who died,” she whispers. Her head was up in the air, trying to sense what was going on. “Hopefully it was Ryan.”

Ryan had been Mom’s boyfriend before she had ran away, without us.

I shrug, “I really don’t know.”

She starts trembling furiously when I am silent for a while. “What are we supposed to do,” she whispers.

I get up, “It’s gonna be alright.” When my voice cracks at the end, she shakes even harder.

I pick her up in my arms. Ella is my six year old sister. I take care of her because Mom ran off, after Ryan had beaten her to close to death. Because we don’t know our real dad, we have to stay with Ryan. That is until I turn eighteen, which is in less than four months. Then I will take Ella and we will run away. Until then I have a job and am saving every penny I make. So far I have ten thousand dollars in the bank for us… plus Mom’s credit cards.

“Maria,” she whispers. She must have been whispering my name for awhile because tears now stained her cheeks and chin.

“Sorry, sweetheart,” I whisper, hugging her closer. “What’s wrong?”

“I think someone is dead,” she whispers. Her beautiful honey flecked eyes are dark with fear that had been accustomed to their new state now. “Can we run away please,” she whispers.

Just before I can say something the door to our bedroom opens quickly, Ryan stands there glaring at us. “Get up and get ready for school. Anyhow you are late you won’t even be able to wake up the next day.” Ella nods and quickly grabs her stuff and runs to the bathroom. I stare at Ryan for awhile. “Do not make me come over there and snuff you right now.”

“I can’t stand up, until you leave,” I whisper, gently.

He nods, “Stand up.” There was a look that dared me to disobey, but I knew better than that. I knew Ryan better than that. I stand up and watch as he smiles that pervertive smile. “Good girl,” he whispers. He steps forward. I almost jump back, but I know there isn’t a point, not when Ryan could kill me. And I can’t do that to Ella. She needs me now more than ever.

So I stand my ground. He touches my bare stomach. His hands are hot. It burns my skin as he runs his hand around my body possessively. My eyes jump, which was a warning that I was gonna cry soon. Ryan doesn’t stop. He continues exploring my body until he steps back, “Take your shorts off.”

I gasp, “No.”                                                             

He glares at me, “Take it off.” This time he says it firmly. Tears run down my face now, but I don’t even care. Ryan waits patiently until he huffs, “You do not want me to do it.”

I gasp, “This is not fair, please Ryan.”

The bathroom door opens, “What’s wrong Maria?”

I turn to see Ella, a little six year old, skinny as a celery stick. The tears run down harder, “Please, Ryan, don’t do this.”

“What?” Ella asks, scared now.

“Get your ass back into the bathroom, or I’ll—” Ella runs into the bathroom and locks the door. Ryan smiles as he turns back to me. I cry harder as I slowly pull my shorts down to my ankles. He smiles as he comes closer. He pushes me back to lie me on the bed, but I am still standing. He pushes harder, but I’m still standing.

“Get your ass on the bed,” he growls. I cry as I lie back. He smiles as he looks at my blue laced panties. He kisses my flat stomach. I am shaking as he kisses me lower and lower.

His hot hands touch my skin between my legs. I cry harder, I’m so afraid. He smiles up at me, “Come on, and stop being a little—”

He is interrupted by a scream, coming from the direction of the bathroom. My head turns in the direction, to see Ella crying. “Don’t hurt her, she didn’t do anything wrong,” she shrieks.

Ryan is angry. He glares at her. I roll off the side of the bed, and land on my feet and hands. I push up and look at Ella. “Go back into the bathroom for one minute,” I whisper. She doesn’t move, “Please, Ella. I promise I’ll be ok.”

She looks at Ryan, and then at me, “As long as he doesn’t hurt you.” I nod, and she turns back to the bathroom.

Ryan tries to grab at me as soon as the door closes and we hear the click of the lock, but I move back. “Ryan, you know what you are doing is wrong,” I say calmly.  “Ella is young and…what if she lets some information slip that you rape me, on more than one occasion?”

He stops and then glares at me, “What are you trying to say?” I don’t answer. I know it’s a trap. I know what he wants me to say. I know if I do, I’ll be in danger. He realizes this too and he gets angry that I figured it out. “What are you trying to say, huh? What?”

I step to the side so I won’t be cornered, “I don’t know.”

He slams me against the wall. I hear Ella trying to fight with the door. “Ella, stay in there, now!”

I hate yelling at her, I haven’t done it in a long time, but right now, I really didn’t want her getting hurt…or at least seeing what was going on. I hear her crying harder now. Ryan slams me into the wall one more time.

“You’re gonna lose,” he whispers. “Either way, you’re gonna lose.”

He holds me up on the wall, for a very long time. He glares so hard at me, I want to die, but I don’t show how scared I feel. He slams me into the wall before he walks out. My legs fall to keep me standing. I slide down the wall.

Ella cries as she runs to me. “It’s gonna be ok,” I whisper, hugging her close to me. She cries her eyes out until she falls asleep on my chest.

I look up at the ceiling. Oh God…I gotta get us out of here…I can’t let Ella live in fear like this… 

The End

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